A DRIVER who defied his driving ban twice in the space of just over two weeks has avoided going straight to prison.

Mark Steven Callaghan was handed a suspended jail sentence and blasted by a magistrate who told him he had shown “a blatant disregard” for the law.

The defendant was caught driving a transit van in Blackwood on May 4 despite being banned from driving for two years in December 2019.

Prosecutor Jess Walling said Callaghan was then spotted by police behind the wheel again on May 22 during a shopping trip.


Newport Magistrates’ Court heard how officers also found cannabis in his vehicle on the second occasion.

Callaghan, 45, of Powell’s Terrace, New Tredegar, Caerphilly, pleaded guilty to two counts of driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and driving without an MOT certificate.

He also admitted possession of cannabis.

Ms Walling said Callaghan had 20 previous convictions for 61 offences.

Nia Sturgess, mitigating, asked the court to give her client maximum credit for his early guilty pleas.

Chair of the magistrates, Philip Walker, told the defendant: “You don’t have an enviable history. You have shown a blatant disregard for the orders of the court.

“You have jumped in a car knowing you are disqualified from driving.”

Callaghan was jailed for eight weeks, suspended for 12 months.

He was made the subject of an electronically-monitored curfew for eight weeks, between 6pm and 6am.

Callaghan was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a £128 surcharge and £85 costs.

Mr Walker warned him before he left the dock he would be going straight to jail if he is caught driving whilst disqualified again.

He told Callaghan: “If you come to court again, bring a bag with you.”